Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Damascus : How To Treat Yourself on A Tight Budget

Because earlier today, 20.10.2010, it was extremely hot, I am inspired to write ... an ice-cream post.

When we were in Syria, trying to stay within budget, we only allowed ourselves one luxury. And that's ice-cream.

In particular, the ice-cream at Bakdash, located within Souq Al-Hamediyya.

Never a lull moment. Its walls are adorned with old pictures as well as pictures of famous people (we guessed) who have been there. There was even a picture of the King of Jordan if I am not mistaken.

You can order after getting a seat or at the counter. Getting a seat can mean waiting, though not for too long.

Well, actually our first ice-cream was from another shop, with no English name. It's located in the first few ' blocks' of the souq so on a hot hot day, when we saw ice-cream, we went in and had some.

First Shop Ice Cream - Puddings in the cold cabinet.

I had this. Yummy.

Julie had this. Light and quite yummy too.

Then, in the following days, after discovering Bakdash, we devoted ourselves totally and pledged undivided loyalty had eyes for no other :P

Only 50 SYP! The Arabic ice-cream costs 75SYP.

It has its own cutlery that's marked 'M.H. Bakdash Est 1895. Damascus Syria'

Don't be startled when the pounding starts! This is to make the Arabic ice-cream (Hey, that's Freddie Mercury, we thought!)

Sometimes there's two of them - The Mighty Ice Cream Pounders. I thought, whoa, if I did this daily I'd get those defined biceps I've always wanted! :)

This is how the blocks of ice-cream look like before it is savagely pounded. Afterwards they look like Swiss rolls after crushed pistachios are sprinkled on.

Tried to pound the ice-cream, and an excuse to take a picture with Freddie Mercury :)

A staff cutting portions off a bigger block of ice-cream.

The perpetually busy pick-up counter, that's manned by at least ... 5-6 people at one time? Understaffing issues don't exist here.

View from outside - look at that melting yumminess in the foreground!

I found it strangely addictive. Is it the finest I've ever eaten? No, I don't think so. But there is something about the taste that is different from franchise ice-cream. Maybe the ingredients are all organic, local and natural? And maybe because it was always always very hot in Damascus :)


Last day treats : the one on the left is a strawberry vanilla cone I think, and the one on the right is the Arabic ice-cream. I think the very last ice-cream was a take-away cone? Or was that the day before?

Anyway, I would recommend Bakdash as a must-go, must-eat in Damascus even though we were told by Othmen the shopkeeper that they are not actually The Best; they are like number 3 or 4. Number 1 is located somewhere else in another part of the city.

I'm not picky about rankings, so to me Bakdash is No. 1 :).

A most valuable discovery on a hot day.


  1. Ooh is that the same place that Ian Wright went to? Yes, I think so!

    But you're not supposed to eat ice-cream or drink ice-cold water or eat chocolates on hot days as these food are 'heaty' and can give you a sore throat instead.

  2. whoaa! ice cream seems to be a serious business in Syria. All we hv here in Msia are the ready-made packs. I'll store this place in mind.

  3. T-Fab : Didn't get any side effects from hot day ice-cream :) maybe because we drank lots of water too.

    Jipp : Yes, this goes on your to-do list in Syria :)